A guide to a successful fundraising event

27 February 2023

As a charity, you know how important and effective events are for raising valuable funds for your cause, and with the coronation of King Charles III fast approaching, we know many festivities will be planned to celebrate this momentous occasion.

How to run a successful event

Whether you’re planning a coronation celebration, a bake sale, a fun run (or all of the above); there are some key principles to consider, ensuring your event is as successful as possible.

Consider the basics

Starting at the very beginning, you want to nail down the details of the absolute fundamentals, starting with the location, your budget, time you need to prepare, resources required, and the number of people you need to volunteer their time. Consider whether any permissions are required from local authorities or landowners.
In cooking, you’d call this a mise en place, gathering and measuring all of your ingredients before you start, and the same applies here.
Getting everything in place before you start combining your ingredients makes for a far more efficient and harmonious result… with very little room for major errors!

Perform a risk assessment

It’s important that you perform a risk assessment when planning an event, so you can understand and minimise any risks before they happen. There may even be a few risks you can mitigate with the smallest of tweaks to your plan, allowing you to focus on any that may require more careful consideration.
Your insurance broker will be able to give you more specific risk advice depending on the nature of the activities you plan on executing but you may also find this general guidance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) helpful as a starting point.
Of course, we hope your event goes without a hitch, but we highly recommend ensuring you have back-up plans to fall back on should something go awry. You never know whether a supplier may not be able to honour their contract, adverse weather may affect the event, or an important speaker could call in sick.

Promote your event

There are innumerable ways you might want to promote your event, many of which are free or very low-cost. Creating a Facebook event, adding a footer to your emails, sending a newsletter, contacting local press to see if they want to cover the event, utilising word of mouth, or speaking to other businesses to see if they are able to promote on your behalf, are just some ideas. 
Remember, not everyone who hears about your event will know what your charity does. Ensure your mission is also conveyed in a succinct way, along with the event details.

Check your insurance

It is vital to check your current insurance policy to ensure it covers the specific activities of your event, or if cover is provided by the venue, especially if money will be exchanged or public liability cover is required. Speaking to an insurance broker can help with advice on risk, and ensuring you are adequately covered. It is the organiser of the event’s responsibility to check that all third-party suppliers have adequate insurance to cover their activities.
Many brokers will also be able to help show you how to set up an incident management procedure in advance and make sure everyone knows how to implement it.
We know the cost of an event will be a big part of your planning process, but one of the best choices you can make when organising an event is to take out specific insurance to cover your charity and those involved should something go wrong.
We all hope you’ll never need to make a claim and that your event is a huge success, but if something does happen, you’ll be so grateful that you had the forethought to protect yourself and your charity.
As a specialist charity insurance provider, we have seen claims that show us just how wrong things can go, leading to potentially traumatic and heartbreaking results.

Some further guidance

If you’re looking for more information and guidance on event fundraising, we recommend visiting the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIOF) where there are plenty of useful tips and links there to help you keep your event as safe as possible
Do the work now, so you can enjoy your event on the day
Once you have everything in place before the event, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the event, safe in the knowledge that your patrons are protected and you’re covered for any unavoidable accidents.